October Surprise Pt. 2

Manhattan Supreme Court to Slap Down OUN-B?

I decided to call this series of blog posts an “October surprise” in jest not just because of the upcoming U.S. election, but also because I happened to learn about much of this only very recently. As it turns out, Part Two was originally going to be about the Banderites for Biden, but since writing Part One four days ago about the world of the Illinois-based Suburban Council of Ukrainian Voters, I’ve learned more about the Ukrainians for Trump campaign. I’ve also just gotten my hands on some of the court documents relating to the OUN-B’s hostile takeover attempt of the Organization for the Defense of Four Freedoms for Ukraine headquartered in Manhattan. After a delay of over six months due to COVID, the Banderite-focused court case resumed several days ago.

The New York County Supreme Court Building, Manhattan

A year ago, in mid-October 2019, four board members of the Manhattan-based Organization for the Defense of Four Freedoms for Ukraine (ODFFU) petitioned the Supreme Court of New York County (Manhattan) “to Set Aside the Election [i.e. ‘Extraordinary Convention’] of Directors, Officers, and Committee Members of the Organization for the Defense of Four Freedoms for Ukraine, Inc. Held on September 28, 2019.” Earlier this month in a letter to the presiding judge, a lawyer for the plaintiffs said this ongoing dispute is all about the stubborn agenda of “rogue members of the ODFFU to … stage an illegal coup d’etat of this charitable organization.”

As noted in Part One and elsewhere on the Bandera Lobby Blog, the controversial “extraordinary convention” was organized under the auspices of the ultra-secretive, cultish, and self-described “revolutionary” Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists-Bandera (OUN-B), which collaborated with Nazi Germany during World War II. Furthermore, last year’s conclave was held in the auditorium of St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Bloomingdale, Illinois, 25 miles west of Chicago on the territory of the Banderite “Suburban Council of Ukrainian Voters” (SCUVoters), which in recent months has spearheaded a grassroots “Ukrainians for Trump” effort.

One of the four plaintiffs (“Petitioners”), Oles Striltschuk, is a dentist from nearby Palatine, Illinois, where the SCUVoters are headquartered. The Chicago area is the last major hotbed of Ukrainian nationalism in the United States. As the president of the ODFFU (2014-20) and the head of the ODFFU-led coalition of OUN-B affiliated Ukrainian American organizations, I used to assume that Dr. Striltschuk was the U.S. leader of the OUN-B. He is (or at least was) also one of four vice presidents of the Banderite-dominated Illinois Division of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), the other three being 1) a member of the pro-Trump Suburban Council of Ukrainian Voters, 2) a member of the steering committee of Ukrainian Americans for Biden, and 3) a banker who is allegedly an OUN-B ringleader in the Midwest.

According to a statement to the court by Oles Striltschuk in mid-November 2019, “upon my appointment to the position of President of the [ODFFU] National Board [in 2014], a group of individuals in the Chicago and Palatine branches began a campaign against me.” In 2018, his membership was revoked in the SCUVoters-affiliated ODFFU Branch 31, led by Roman Holowka and Jaroslav Sydorenko, who came up in Part One. The Palatine-based Ukrainian nationalist organization’s Tovaryskyy Sud, or “Friendly Court,” chaired by an elderly former president of the local ODFFU-affiliated youth group, unanimously decided to strip Striltschuk of his branch membership—for different reasons depending on who you ask.

Although not a plaintiff or defendant, Askold Lozynskyj, a semi-retired attorney who is today an official advisor to Ukrainian Americans for Biden, has loomed large in the case as the alleged mastermind of the 17 Banderite defendants (“Respondents”). In 1998, after Lozynskyj became the president of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (1992-2000) and the Ukrainian World Congress (1998-2008), Myron Kuropas, a longtime OUN-B critic and conservative columnist for the most popular Ukrainian American weekly newspaper, informed readers, “Some Ukrainians are of the opinion that given his previous role as the OUN-B point (some say ‘hit’) man in the United States, Askold will remain Askold.” They were right. From 2009 to 2013, Lozynskyj was the president of the “International Council in Support of Ukraine,” originally known as the World Ukrainian Liberation Front, an international coordinating body of OUN-B affiliated NGOs.

International OUN-B conference, Munich 2012. Sitting left to right: Eugene Czolij (Ukrainian World Congress [UWC] president), Mykhailo Ratushny (Ukrainian World Coordinating Council [UWCC] president), Stefan Romaniw (OUN-B leader, also vice president of UWC & UWCC), and Askold Lozynskyj (International Council in Support of Ukraine president).

According to the original legal petition of October 16, 2019, the “Respondents have wreaked havoc with respect to the ODFFU by, inter alia, taking possession of and/or freezing ODFFU’s bank accounts, depriving the ODFFU of the ability to pay its employees, utilities, insurance, mortgage and other necessary expenses,” and demanding that the tenants of the ODFFU building in Manhattan start paying their rent directly to Askold Lozynskyj. In early December, one of the Petitioners’ lawyers requested a conference call with the judge on the basis that his adversaries were out of control: “Emboldened by the absence of injunctive relief, and with no Court date on the near horizon, Respondents have continued and indeed worsened their unlawful behavior.” Guess who was alleged to be the mayhem puppet master?

We have been informed of the following additional actions. On or about November 18, 2019, Askold Lozynskyj (‘Lozynskyj’) who is aligned with Respondents, contacted the City of New York Department of Housing Preservation and Development and changed the registration of the ODFFU’s [Manhattan headquarters] building to his name, in an attempt to declare himself as the managing agent for the building.

On or about the 22nd or 23rd of November, Lozynskyj (claiming to be in the role of building manager) contacted ODFFU’s residential and commercial tenants and demanded that they pay their December rents to him as the new managing agent and showed said tenants the paperwork from the City … with his name listed as managing agent. Lozynskyj also met with the owners of … one of the ODFFU’s commercial tenants and threatened to terminate their lease if they did not send their rent checks for December to him.

Further, Lozynskyj met with the owners of another of the ODFFU’s commercial tenants and threatened to take them to court if they did not send their commercial rent check for December to him. Yet still, Lozynskyj met with several of the ODFFU’s residential tenants and threatened to terminate their apartment leases or not renew their apartment leases if they did not send their residential checks for December to him.

Over the last month, Respondents and Lozynskyj have sent communications to the Ukrainian National Federal Credit Union (‘UNFCU’), the Supervisory Committee of the Board of Directors of the UNFCU and the National Credit Union Administration (‘NCUA’), which is the regulatory agency that supervises federal credit unions … in an attempt to exert further pressure on several [UNFCU] board members … who are also on the Board of ODFFU, Inc.

The above reminds me of an excerpt from the first post on the Bandera Lobby Blog, an anonymously authored whistleblower complaint submitted to the Charities Bureau of the New York State Attorney General’s office on September 28, 2019—the same day as the “extraordinary conference” in Bloomingdale—about the present-day U.S. activities of the OUN-B via the Ukrainian American Freedom Foundation (UAFF) and other alleged Banderite front organizations. Historically the UAFF is the publisher of the OUN-B’s Ukrainian American newspaper, the “National Tribune.” According to the anonymous whistleblower/complainant, the self-described son of “pioneers of the Ukrainian Organized Community,” who was apparently trusted enough by the “Respondents” that they allegedly confided in him,

At the last UAFF, Inc. annual meeting [in 2018], Walter Zaryckyj was appointed as its president (even though he did not seek that position). This was done in order to make clear to the other UAFF, Inc. members that OUN (R) [a.k.a. OUN-B] makes all the rules, as he said — “we run the show.” I told him that this will end badly for this foundation, but he replied that “for legal or illegal purposes we have Askold Lozynskyj, Esq. He knows all the leeway with the non-for-profit 501(c)(3) organizations and knows how to fuck people around. In addition, now we have Oleh N. Dekajlo, Esq. as a reinforcement for OUN (R), we can fuck anyone that we want. He will do anything that Askold Lozynskyj tells him…”

Oleh Dekajlo is the defense attorney in the ODFFU case. Soon before the courts closed in March 2020 due to COVID, Dekajlo submitted a nine-page affirmation, of which more than three pages were dedicated to the elephant in the courtroom. As told by Dekajlo, “I have had the privilege and pleasure of knowing Askold S. Lozynskyj both professionally and later personally for more than forty years.” (Forty years ago in October 1980, Lozynskyj participated in a Banderite “coup” of the UCCA and thereafter reportedly served as the “commandant of the so-called ‘OUN-B Eleven’” who tried and failed to take over the Ukrainian National Association as well.) Dekajlo objected to the fact that in documents freshly submitted by the plaintiffs, they “refer to some scheme allegedly ‘orchestrated’ by a respected and highly regarded attorney/real estate entrepreneur, Askold S. Lozynskyj, Esq., and referenced [him] 37 times.” According to the anonymous whistleblower/complainant,

Askold Lozynskyj, while having a few drinks with me in New Jersey, told me that he would love to acquire the ODFFU, Inc. building. He uses the UAFF, Inc. and programs in other organizations, like UCCA, to launder the money from Ukraine that he gains from corrupt real estate transactions made in Ukraine and other dirty businesses involving Ukrainian oligarchs, in order to avoid taxes. If his office would ever get raided (225 East 11th. Street Apart. 5 New York NY 10003) by the authorities, they will be shocked by what they will find. He uses his private secretary to make all the transactions and to sign receipts. I am pretty sure that if you confiscate the computer of the treasurer of UAFF, Inc., you probably will find transactions involving this unique individual, who claims to be a Ukrainian Patriot.

For the record: Askold Lozynskyj made his money by taking advantage of Ukrainian organizations, but mainly from their members — Ukrainian immigrants that couldn’t speak and/or write English. Those people trusted him with everything. My father once had called him and asked if he would take a case and how much it will cost. For the questions asked and answered, the bill was $450.00 — that was back in the 1970's. Ukrainian immigrants, who didn’t have family and didn’t understand the English language, went to him for advice and procedures on how to prepare a will in order that after their passing, the building/assets that they owned would go to Ukrainian Organizations and/or churches. Yet somehow, after their death, those assets became properties of Askold Lozynskyj, Esq. That is how he started making money.​

Askold Lozynskyj

On the first day of 2020, Lozynskyj sent an email to numerous people urging them to join him in “rebuilding” the 2nd Branch of the ODFFU in Manhattan. In recent years, Brooklyn’s Branch 41 has doubled as the “NYC Branch.” Lozynskyj claimed to be the oldest living member of the 2nd Branch. (Over a dozen years ago he publicly recalled getting into gang fights growing up in Manhattan’s nationalistic Ukrainian neighborhood, “We would fight with pipes, that kind of stuff, you know … Sometimes it would be interethnic. It could be Ukrainians against Poles or Ukrainians against Puerto Ricans or Puerto Ricans against Poles. Sort of ridiculous, but when you’re 12 or 11 or 10 years old, it makes sense.”) “This department [Branch 2] is unfortunately inactive but virtually captured by thieves from Brooklyn … So I urge people to rebuild this [Manhattan] branch,” Lozynskyj wrote in his New Year’s Day email.

Two and a half weeks later, the Ukrainian Free University (UFU) Foundation hosted an “emergency” meeting in its office in the ODFFU headquarters building. Askold Lozynskyj, the president of the UFU Foundation, led the purported 2nd Branch meeting. Several dissenting ODFFU members showed up in protest. According to the plaintiffs’ side of the story, they passed a motion to end the meeting but Lozynskyj’s group proceeded after they left. An alleged former U.S. leader of the OUN-B was “elected” the head of the new 2nd Branch, with the UCCA communications director as his secretary (who is also the “information officer” of the fake ODFFU board of directors). When the anti-Lozynskyj crowd returned, punches were thrown.

In the coming days Lozynskyj wrote a notice to ODFFU members (“Lying, pilfering and now assaulting”) in which he denounced the “gang of thugs” and “post-Soviet style property raiders” who disturbed his meeting, held in the building he declared himself the manager of. “The gang included, among others,” Lozynskyj tells us, “An 81 year old wearing a neck brace who has been involved in provocations his entire life … [and a younger] man who prefers a Russian first name because the Ukrainian one does not suit him yet engages in the education of Ukrainian youth,” in addition to a “purported businessman who is essentially a criminal assaulting people and often out of control because he is the son of a cop [and] considers himself above the law or at least immune from police arrest.” Lozynskyj went on inadvertently half-describing himself,

We live in unusual times. We used to look out for enemies among others, and often failed to see or recognize our own Ukrainian provocateurs … While community naiveté or complacency is the crux of the problem it is borne of basic kindness and goodness. The community simply does not want to believe that there are crooks, provocateurs and essentially bad people within its ranks … My memo to members of the Ukrainian community — fight your enemies but beware your so called Ukrainian friends. They represent [an] equal if not greater danger.

In early February the Petitioners filed an affidavit by another ODFFU board member.

Respondents and Askold Lozynskyj … who has been at the forefront of all of their unlawful activity, have acted on their threats and have initiated at least (2) actions to evict tenants of the ODFFU’s building … There are numerous tenants against whom Respondents and Lozynskyj have not yet commenced eviction proceedings, but said tenants are paralyzed with confusion and fear over losing their homes and do not know how to proceed … It is not as though the tenants do not want to pay, but they are simply confused as to whom to pay in the absence of a directive from the Court.

According to Oleh Dekajlo, by February 2020, Lozynskyj managed to collect almost $75,000 from the tenants of the ODFFU headquarters building. Meanwhile, between the frozen bank accounts and the loss of rent to Lozynskyj, the ODFFU had fallen months behind on mortgage payments on the building, and the Ukrainian National Federal Credit Union gave the ODFFU board of directors a deadline of February 8 to pay $265,527.64. The judge signed an Order to Show Cause on Valentine’s Day, setting a date for the defense to argue why the Court shouldn’t rule in the plaintiffs’ favor. Dekajlo submitted an affirmation accordingly on March 1. The courts closed about two weeks later, before any decisions were made on the future of the case.

The ODFFU was supposed to have its National Convention in January 2020, but supposedly had to delay it because of obstruction by the Respondents and branches under OUN-B control. COVID also presumably pushed things back, so the event was finally held in May via Zoom. According to one of the Petitioners’ lawyers, 49 delegates representing 85% of the ODFFU membership participated in the convention, and all but one of the 49 supported the election of the new president—the guy that Askold accused in January of being toxic (especially to Ukrainian American youth) because of his allegedly Russian name. “Thus, the entire excuse for the illegal acts by Respondents … have been mooted by the National Convention election,” argued one of plaintiffs’ attorneys in a letter to the judge earlier this month.

What is also clear is that, contrary to the Respondents alleged ‘election’ at which a tiny minority of members and branches were present, the entire membership of the ODFFU has spoken loudly and clearly and rejected the rogue actions of the Respondents. Nevertheless, since the May election the Respondents and their agents have refused to accept the vote of the membership and have continued to interfere with the ability of the newly elected board to operate the organization and operate the building owned by the organization.

Respondents’ continued misconduct has jeopardized the ODFFU’s property and relationship with its bank. In March 2020 the Ukrainian National Federal Credit Union declared a default of the mortgage and exercised its right to the assignment of rents and submitted to the current tenants letters requesting that the tenants pay their rents to the credit union. Shortly thereafter, however, Respondents’ agent, Mr. Askold Lozynskyj, sent letters to the tenants stating that the credit union's "assignment of rents" was fraudulent and that the tenants should not pay their rents to the credit union and should continue to pay the rents to him.

Even after the May election, Respondents’ agent has continued to unlawfully collect rents from no less than 3 tenants of the building by falsely claiming to be the building manager. By absconding with rents that should be paid directly to the credit union, Respondents are jeopardizing the ability of the ODFFU to satisfy the demands of the credit union. (We do not know what Respondents are doing with these funds.) This misconduct has further caused at least 3 tenants to move out of the building rather than be further subjected to Lozynskyj’s harassment, once again injuring the ODFFU’s finances.

In conclusion: “There is simply no basis for this tiny group of agitators to continue to thwart the will of the membership, interfere with the properly elected Board and officers, to bully and threaten tenants, and enrich themselves with rent they are not entitled to receive.” Now that court is back in session (via a Zoom-like application), time should tell if the judge agrees.

November 8-9, 2014 National Convention of ODFFU, Yonkers, NY

Oles Striltschuk claimed that the trouble started after he became the president of the ODFFU and his colleagues in Palatine and Chicago began to conspire against him. By the looks of it the “Petitioners” and “Respondents” were getting along well enough at the last in-person convention of the ODFFU in November 2014. They’re supposed to be triennial events but this was six years ago. So the people behind the “extraordinary convention” in September 2019 were right about a convention being well overdue, but obviously it wasn’t the lack of democracy that concerned them.

The 30th National Convention of the ODFFU, chaired by Askold Lozynskyj, took place in Yonkers, New York on the weekend of November 8-9, 2014. It was attended by a special Banderite guest from Ukraine, Roman Zvarych, who in those days was billed as an advisor to both the President of Ukraine and the neo-Nazi commander of the infamous Azov Battalion. Zvarych, a Ukrainian American, renounced his U.S. citizenship in order to become a citizen of Ukraine after it became independent and co-founded an OUN-B political party he was eventually pushed out of. In 2005-2006, Zvarych was twice briefly Ukraine’s Minister of Justice.

According to a Google translation of the ODFFU report on the 2014 congress, during his speech, Roman Zvarych “spoke about the current state of the Ukrainian Army, the Ukrainian National Guard, and the Ukrainian Volunteer Battalions, and especially about the AZOV Battalion, which day after day is fighting hard to preserve Ukrainian territorial integrity, the Ukrainian people and the Ukrainian state.” As can be seen below, he wore a neo-Nazi Azov patch on his right arm.

Also present at the 2014 ODFFU National Convention was former Senator Gordon J. Humphrey (R-NH), who back in the 1980s co-chaired the Congressional Task Force on Afghanistan. Less than 24 hours before the two-day affair in Yonkers began, the Washington Post published an op-ed by Humphrey (“Congress must take the lead on Ukraine”) that helped kick off a successful campaign to A) ensure that the 2014 Ukraine Freedom Support Act was signed into law, thereby authorizing the POTUS to arm Ukraine, and B) call for the creation of the Senate Ukraine Caucus.

Mykola Hryckowian, the DC bureau chief of the OUN-B affiliated Center for US-Ukrainian Relations, claims to have coordinated the organized Ukrainian American community’s above mentioned lobbying efforts in Washington, but apparently doesn’t hold it against Trump that he got himself impeached for trying to make a corrupt deal involving the shipment of “lethal aid” to Ukraine. The important thing, Hryckowian would probably tell you, is that Trump didn’t refuse to arm Ukraine like Obama did (and Biden is a socialist puppet of the radical left). The “extraordinary convention” in Bloomingdale “elected” Hryckowian, a proud Trump supporter, as the fake president of the ODFFU, making him Respondent #1.

Sitting left to right at the 2014 ODFFU convention: Borys Potapenko (Respondent #8), Roman Zvarych, Sen. Gordon Humphrey, Orest Steciw (League of Ukrainian Canadians), Walter Zaryckyj (Respondent #3). Mykola Hryckowian is at the podium.
The profile picture of the unofficial "Ukrainians for the Re-election of Donald Trump" Twitter account.

At least three of the 17 defendants who make up the illegitimate leadership of the ODFFU are Trump supporters, and the two that aren’t Mykola Hryckowian are members of the group’s 31st Branch: Rostyk (“Ros”) Saciuk, the president of the Suburban Council of Ukrainian Voters, and Myron Wasiunec, the head of the ODFFU-tied Ukrainian Youth Association in Palatine.

Contrary to what I wrote in Part One, there is an official “Ukrainian Americans for Trump,” if only on paper. On August 30, Laura Kelly reported for The Hill that Ken Farnaso, the Trump campaign’s deputy national press secretary, “said the group [‘Ukrainian Americans for Trump’] is a grassroots effort … ‘Like all of our Trump Campaign coalitions, Ukrainians for Trump [sic] come together to make phone calls, knock on doors, and submit op-eds to reach out to other Ukrainian Americans,’ he wrote in a statement to The Hill.”

Bohdan Shandor, a former president of the Ukrainian American Bar Association, wrote a pro-Trump letter to the editor of the Ukrainian Weekly in September (“A vote for Biden is a vote for the extreme radical left”) and identified himself as a member of “Ukrainian Americans for Trump,” which we will call UAT. Otherwise the OUN-B affiliated Suburban Council of Ukrainian Voters has spearheaded the grassroots “Ukrainians for Trump” effort, raising the question of coordination with the Trump campaign via the official “Ukrainian Americans for Trump” (UAT). Unsurprisingly the two names are often used interchangeably.

Since writing Part One, I’ve become increasingly convinced that a line of communication exists between “Ukrainians for Trump” (SCUVoters) and UAT (and therefore the RNC and/or Trump campaign). Evidently the first UAT graphic—a not entirely Ukraine-themed voter guide paid for by Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., featuring the same logo seen on the official UAT website—apparently made its world debut on Thursday, October 22 at 12:41 PM. That is when it first appeared on an unofficial “Ukrainians for the Re-election of Donald Trump” Facebook page (username: ukrainiansfortrump), which was obviously created by the SCUVoters. The latter has its own Facebook page, and they routinely post the same content almost simultaneously.

About fifteen minutes after “Ukrainians for the Re-election of Donald Trump” posted the UAT graphic, Mykola Hryckowian, the fake president of the ODFFU, shared the same image on his Facebook account. More importantly, the day prior he shared, without comment, what at first glance looked like a two-page UAT mission statement. It lists the UAT’s DonaldJTrump.com website on the bottom of both pages, but it seems that somebody altered the logo to say Ukrainians for Trump. Also somewhat curious is the fact that several days later, the SCUVoters’ Facebook pages haven’t bothered to share the document. Neither oddity proves anything but in my opinion casts some doubt on the authenticity of the statement.

Right: logo seen on official UAT website. Top left: logo on UAT voter guide. Bottom left: logo on alleged "mission statement."

It seems that Mykola Hryckowian, whose been assertively pro-Trump on Facebook recently, wrote the document, or is at least in touch with whoever did. The mission statement didn’t appear publicly anywhere else first, and the UCCA’s Ukrainian National Information Service has recognized it as a Trump re-election campaign statement made on October 21, the day Hryckowian posted it online. If it is the UAT mission statement, that would mean that Mykola Hryckowian is likely a key figure in UAT and the SCUVoters’ liaison to the RNC and/or Trump campaign, assuming there is one.

The ODFFU board of directors claim their predecessors expelled Hryckowian from the organization in 2005. He attended the 2014 convention, but wasn’t in the official group photo, so he could have been there on behalf of another organization. According to the anonymous whistleblower complaint, the former ODFFU board revoked his membership because he allegedly “stole money from the donations received by the ODFFU 2nd Branch.” Considering the prominence of Hryckowian and other Trump supporters in the ODFFU “coup,” it’s something to behold that the alleged mastermind is presently an advisor to Ukrainian Americans for Biden. Three of the four posts made on the UAB Facebook page from October 19-23, 2020 were opinion pieces by Askold Lozynskyj, Mr. “Beware Your Ukrainian Friends Who Represent An Equal If Not Greater Danger.”

Card-carrying Banderites in the United States are in a rather contradictory situation today, seemingly as dominant and vulnerable as ever. The OUN-B’s Cold War-era underground dictatorship over the organized Ukrainian American community may be crumbling, but its ringleaders won’t go down peacefully, and with a Biden presidency looking likely, their stars might actually be set to rise in Washington. Hopefully the judge knocks them on their ass.

UPDATE (January 2021): The judge, I’m sorry to say, did not in fact “knock them on their ass,” but it was far from a decisive victory for the OUN-B, contrary to the celebration of the Hryckowian-led faction of the ODFFU. Stay tuned for further developments.